PART IV: What's Concentration Got To Do With It?
The sutta says it's about concentration and then barely mentions it again. The whole sutta is a study in what the requisites and supports for concentration are. (Oh, I forgot to mention an opposing view as it relates to this: that the sutta has nothing to do with concentration, that the opening is just tacked on there as it is so similar to other openings on suttas that are actually about concentration. Unlikely, as in the middle sections the Buddha clicks into place all the other parts of the 8-fold path and even the two extra factors for arahants (wisdom and liberation). It would be very odd for him to leave out concentration from these considerations of the factors if it were just a generalized sutta – he is talking about concentration through the other factors, which is why he isn't mentioning concentration in the factors for Right View, Intention, Speech, Action, and Livelihood.)
When I asked earlier what Right View had to do with Concentration, I felt sure that anyone who'd practiced the Buddha's path for even a little while would testify that the relationship between the two goes two ways:
(1) Your meditation isn't going to do you a whole lot of good if you don't have Right View. You can sit and meditate on how good sex is all you want and it's not going to get you liberated. So Right View is clearly a support and requisite for Right Concentration.
(2) You get a much more accurate view the more you practice concentration. Meditation is about seeing directly, and seeing for yourself. So Right Concentration is a requisite and support for Right View.
The two run around each other in just the same way that Right View, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness run a circle around whatever factor we're discussing to support them (as the Buddha mentions in this very sutta).
How does the fact that this sutta is actually about concentration relate to an altered reading of MN 117? Hey, I've spent half my day writing this summary; that's going to have to wait till I've got some work done.
In the meantime, comments about the relationship between concentration and right view are most welcome; new arguments for or against the reading so far that add substance to the conversation are also welcome.