Pema Chodron writes in The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (2002,)
All beings have the capacity to feel tenderness – to experience heartbreak, pain, and uncertainty. Therefore the enlightened heart of bodhichitta is available to all of us. The insight meditation teacher Jack Kornfield tells of witnessing this in Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge. Fifty thousand people had become communists at gunpoint, threatened with death if they continued their Buddhist practices. In spite of the danger, a temple was established in the refugee camp, and twenty thousand people attended the opening ceremony. There were no lectures or prayers but simply continuous chanting of one of the central teachings of the Buddha:
Hatred never ceases by hatred
But by love alone is healed.
This is an ancient and eternal law.
Thousands of people chanted and wept, knowing that the truth in these words was even greater than their suffering.
Bodhichitta has this kind of power. It will inspire and support us in good times and bad. It is like discovering a wisdom and courage we do not even know that we have. Just as alchemy changes any metal into gold, bodhicitta can, if we let it, transform any activity, word, or thought into a vehicle for awakening our compassion.