Life in a spiritual, nonmaterial form, as absolute substance, has its origins in the sky. The earth itself is impure, subject to decay, and associated with death. To transform this static polarity into the actual process of living, the male sky must fertilize the earth, infusing it with its living essence. Living then consists of the gradual shedding of the decaying earthly cloak, and the reabsorption of life into its original reservoir in the sky. [...] This sexualized cosmos implies that between the two polar opposites of sky and earth, male and female, life and death, there are two directions of dynamic movement, constituting the process of the world which we actually observe and participate in. One of these directions is that of descent from sky to earth, the fertilizing motion of the falling of the rain, whereby life takes on a material wrapping. The second, complementary motion is the ascent from earth to sky, in which fertilized matter, through the process of living (which is simply a process of the gradual burning of energy) casts off its terrestrial cloak and frees itself from its imprisonment in dead matter.
- from Robert A. Paul, The Sherpas of Nepal in the Tibetan Cultural Context.