Because for some reason I can never recall their names when I’m talking about them to coworkers or students.
1. Kurama-dera, Kyoto
Why: Mainly because it houses a statue (or replica) of the so-called “Defender Lord,” a figure of some mystery whose alleged origins of 6.5 million years ago and perpetual youth* are strikingly similar to that of the Theosophic figure Sanat Kumara. Descriptions make the Defender Lord sound like a tengu—and speaking of tengu, the temple’s surroundings on Mt. Kurama are said to be full of ‘em. Even more, “Kurama” should sound familiar as the Kurama Tengu as seen in SMT hails from this same range. That shitface Yoshitsune was said to throw down with the tengu on this mountain as well.
*SMTIV Guy Sez: “Perpetual youth? Don’cha mean BIG WHEELS?!”
2. Shin Yakushiji, Nara
Why: Because this temple has some sweet statues of the 12 Heavenly Generals (as seen above). You know, those guys Aleph has to fight before Atavaka in SMTII.
Yes, I knew you knew (though don’t ask me to put specific names to these guys, I can never remember). Anyway, they surround and protect Yakushi Nyorai, the “Medicine Buddha” and I remember being kinda creeped out by a video I watched on the temple’s display, so of course I want to see it in person.
3. Hozanji, Nara
Why: I mean, I hope you can sense the theme that I love to look at Buddhist statuary, because the reason why I want to see Hozanji is not just because it’s a rather large, stunning temple complex on a mountain, but mainly because it has a statue of Kangiten, the dual-gendered aspect of everyone’s favorite accidental pachyderm-head, Ganesha. That the sexual nature inherent in Kangiten’s embrace lead to its icons being kept from public view and that, according to the Wikipedia article, Hozanji covers the Kangiten statue with some kind of phallic shroud when “not in worship,” are both evidence as to why SMT’s Kangiten is indexed in the Enigma race. Also, I will be pissed if when I go to Hozanji it’s in the vague “not in worship” period and all I get is a Mara with a blank stare.
(thanks for reading)