I know Ryan has an area of expertise in Stoic stuff, and I can respect that. But I would ask that at least 1 work of Eastern Philosophy be included here. I mean, I was an academic philosopher for about a decade, and taught the subject at the college level — and I still managed to be exposed to a few Eastern texts that I still love.
- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
- Dhammapada (“sayings of the buddha”)
- Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
- Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Way of Zen by Alan Watts
- The Upanishads
- The Baghavad Gita
Sure, some of these may at first blush read as cryptic and paradoxical, but to take that as a drawback is to miss the point of Eastern Philosophy entirely (a grave mistake, indeed). The underlying idea of Eastern approaches to life is that reality is filled with paradox and contradiction — with impermanence and confusion. To try to really present that reality by using simple, direct, and unequivocal words is to miss the point. When you read Eastern Approaches in that way, and really sit and chew on the tricky prose, it can have a transformative effect on your understanding of things.
Just my two cents, in addition to Ryan’s few dollars of good recommendations.