In the 1993 film, Murray plays cynical, self-important Phil Connors, a Pittsburgh TV weatherman sent to cover an assignment he loathes: the Groundhog Day festivities in tiny Punxsutawney, Pa.
"A thousand people freezing their butts off, waiting to worship a rat," he gripes.
Following the ceremony, a blizzard strands Connors in town, and when he wakes the next morning, it's Groundhog Day again. And again, and again, and again.
Connors tries everything to break the cycle - including driving off a cliff with a kidnapped Punxsutawney Phil at the wheel - but not even death can free him.
To Buddhist fans, Connors' endlessly recurring day illustrates samsara, the circle of birth and rebirth.
"The word reincarnation is never mentioned, yet it's such an obvious metaphor," said Paul Schindler Jr., an Oregon teacher whose writings on the film include the online column "Groundhog Day: The Movie, Buddhism and Me."
Connors' arrogance obstructs his enlightenment. Only when he surrenders his ego - "I don't even exist anymore" - does he achieve anatta, emptiness of self, and begin to practice seva, service to others without expectation of reward.
By devoting himself to his fellow man, by fixing a flat tire for a carload of old ladies and trying to save the life of a homeless man, Connors starts to escape his eternal Feb. 2.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Groundhog Day Meditation
It's that time again:
Posted by Gabriel at 6:23 AM