Koan of the Day is a webcomic disguised as a collection of neo-Buddhist Koans, or perhaps a collection of neo-Buddhist koans disguised as a webcomic. There are no illustrations, and viewers must transcend their attachment to traditional art in order to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of unadorned lowercase Helvetica.
While readers browse, the site keeps track of their bodhi, or karmic understanding. Certain activities allow the user to increase their bodhi. Not all of these are known.
Tropes used by this webcomic:
- Animate Inanimate Object: Flowers are living, talking beings just like the moon.
- Anti-Humor: Sometimes Koan of the Day is not just anti-humor, but anti-logic and anti-sense, as well.
- Cross Over Cosmology: The character of the guru is an amalgamation of Buddha, Socrates, Jesus Christ, and others, as seen in the trial arc.
- Exact Words:
- In tomorrow’s class, the guru offers a free class tomorrow for anyone who pays today. When tomorrow comes, he points at the sign saying “tomorrow’s is free”- meaning it will never come because it will always be today and not tomorrow.
- In libre non gratis, the guru is back in prison but remarks that at least his mind is free. He is immediately charged two ducats for his mind.
- Every Man Has His Price: In the guru’s song, part three, the guru declines an offer from the banker to use his song in an ad because it is about love and art, not commercial gain. Then the banker offers him ten-thousand ducats, to which he responds “what is art, anyway?”
- God: The tortoise deduces that God is actually no better than a bite of lettuce.
- Hermit Guru: A hermit appears in a special interactive koan.
- Metaphorically True: In subscription perks, the guru offers free food for newsletter subscribers. He then tells them that his “food” is the lessons he feeds to his students. They are not amused and he gets sued for false advertising.
- The Philosopher: The central character is a guru who waxes philosophical.
- Recursive Reality: In one koan, the guru wonders if he is merely a reflection.
- Self-Proclaimed Liar: The guru often claims that he is a liar, and sometimes gets called out on it. He's also exploited the trope at times, such as in Logic.
- Springtime for Hitler: In a footrace rematch, the tortoise challenges the guru to a footrace rematch. The guru bets on the tortoise and does his best to intentionally lose. But the tortoise cheats by hopping on a carriage, and a student discovers this, resulting in the guru winning a Disqualification-Induced Victory. All as the tortoise planned.
- Talking Animal: A tortoise provides much needed snark when the guru gets full of himself or his theories.
- Uriah Gambit: In how to become a guru, the guru tells a student seeking to follow in his footsteps to renounce everything and fast in the desert for 40 days and nights- because he does not want any competition.
- Weird Moon: The moon is apparently a living, talking entity.