Again I'm on top of Prayer Flag Hill, clouds drifting by slowly, lazily. In the distance the chime of the prayer wheel rings endlessly on, mingling with the deep voices of the monks chanting Tibetan throat mantras in the gompa. I'm lying on my back in the grass watching the sky and suddenly an eagle swoops low across the hill, just a few meters above me. I grin as another eagle swoops into view, and a third, a fourth. Soon the sky is filled with soaring eagles, their cries drowning out the bells and mantras. The sky is thick with them now, the sun completely blotted out. A thousand shrieking birds, the beating of their wings growing louder, and louder still, deafening, pounding in my head. I close my eyes. It's unbearable. I open my mouth to scream but there is no sound. I gasp for air but there is no breath. And then - it's over in a flash. Stopped as suddenly as it began. It's quiet. The monks begin to chant again. The prayer wheel bell hadn't stopped ringing. It never does.

I open my eyes. A single eagle feather drifts down from the sky above, circling my body as it falls to the earth. I reach out my arm, open my hand and it lands neatly in my palm. I close my fingers around the feather. It's soft, warm, full of energy. I meditate.

Later I open my eyes and uncurl my fingers from the eagles feather. It is still soft, but damp in my hand. The computer monitor glows softly in the dark room. I close the Kopan web site, knowing I'll return one day soon.

Every year, around two hundred 'westerners' take part in a one month Tibetan Buddhism meditation retreat at Kopan, perched on a hill overlooking Kathmandu valley in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, Nepal.

It is at Kopan where we explore Tibetan Buddhism, meditation, and our Minds.
A crash course in Enlightenment.