The “hero’s journey” (a term coined by American writer, Joseph Campbell) is a common theme in global mythology. Here, in a line from Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, is the hero’s journey summarized:
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
This all-encompassing event in a person’s life happens in a series of defined stages: Departure, Initiation and Return. Each stage is then marked with various steps, the full list of which (with descriptions) can be read here. In The Big Lebowski, the Dude’s journey follows this pattern. And interestingly, certain key steps of the adventure are heralded each time the Dude imbibes his favorite drink, the White Russian (or as he refers to it—the Caucasian).