In this strip, you get to see a little bit into Johnny’s beliefs. It’s a rodent-specific (and clearly fictional) offshoot of Buddhism called “The Way of the Sojourner” and it’s about as wide spread as Christianity in rodent civilizations. It has its origins with Siddhartha Gautama, the first Buddha, as when he shared what he discovered in his enlightenment with his first students. Unknownst to him, there was some rats who picked up his teaching as well, and carried the teachings with them. As these rats traveled throughout the world, sharing the Buddha’s teachings with other rodents, the belief picked up a nautical theme. This would be almost expected, because the symbol of Buddhism, standing for the Eight-Fold Path, looks a lot like a traditional ship’s steering wheel.
There’s also a lot of weather involved in this religion’s symbolism, which is what Johnny mentions here. It’s a play on the first of the Four Noble Truths: “Into any person, for any reason, at any time, you will experience suffering,” or “Into any person’s life, a storm must fall,” the storm being suffering. And in Buddhism or at least as I read of it, Suffering it a general term. Granted, it means war, death, disease, old age, agony, misery, and those big ones that Ray Charles can see from across the street. But it also means more minor problems like getting up too early in the morning, getting all the red lights as you drive, the inability to find coffee flavored coffee, having to deal with Assholes and Jerks…and finding out too late that the beam you’re hanging off of is way too flimsy to hold your weight, as in the case of Johnny here. (Spoiler Alert)
You’ll probably find out more about Johnny’s believes, and practices, as we go along. He does this mostly as a layperson because it easies his mind over the dangers and perils of being a field mouse in the world. But those are just measly Midwestern thunderstorms without a tornado involved. The symbolic ‘storm’ he’s in now is a Category 6 Hurricane. But in every hurricane there’s this eye that is completely calm with all the wind and chaos spinning 360° all around you. Seeing this eye of the storm and riding it out in the calm center is a popular meditation for Johnny.