Chinnamundā is the solo side project of Greg Watkins from Static of Masses. This project is based on and inspired by philosophies and world views found in Buddhism and Bön, including the concept of cutting away the ego.
Album available at Doomsday’s Today Records
The project is named after Chinnamundā “She whose head is severed”, a form of Vajravārāhī in Buddhist Tantric tradition. She is also known as Chinnamastā in Hinduism. Depicted in the state of having severed her own head with three streams of blood flowing into the mouths of her and her attendants, she is often viewed with awe and horror. The 3 streams of blood are a visual depiction of the yogic concept of controlling the winds of the three subtle channels (nādīs) as a part of practice towards attainment of Buddhahood. The symbolism of severing the head relates to severing the grasping at the concept of an individual self. There is far more to the story of Chinnamundā than can be covered in this brief description and I encourage those who are interested to explorer further research. One of my sources was the book “Chinnamastā The Awful Buddhist and Hindu Tantric Goddess” by Elisabeth Anne Benard
Artwork by Alexis Buell-Banfield of Spitfire Images
Chinnamundā’s debut album entitled “Laughter of the Skygoers” is named after and based on “The Laughter of the Khandros, The Offering of the Body” from The Great Treasury of the Ultra-profound Sky, a popular Chöd practice among Bönpos today. Without getting into the issues of Chöd in Buddhism vs. Bön, the general concept is to cut. This can be seen as cutting through ego, or cutting through demonic objects (obstacles to liberation/enlightenment). It is all related to cutting through attachment to the body as self. The sādhana involves grisly visualizations of the practitioners body being dismembered and fed to various beings of existence.
The seven movements of this 38 minute piece of music outline the parts of the ritual including “performing the Dance”, “Going for Refuge”, “The White Feast”, “The Red Feast”, and “Gifts and Protection” among others. Chöd is considered an advanced Tantric practice and should not be taken lightly. Again, this brief description only touches the subject. I encourage further research to those who are interested. My primary source was “Chöd Practice in the Bön Tradition” by Alejandro Chaoul. This book offers a selected bibliography of additional sources, some of which I was also able to consult during my research.