This is a long answer (below), so here is a summary up front:
"In Buddhism, what does it mean to hold a view?"
I think it means to get attached to a view, maybe to rejoice in or to delight in a view, like attaching to a sense-object -- especially a wrong view, such as "delight in being" (bhavaratā).
"Or, are there various types of wrong views and the lists consider only the greatest examples?"
If 62 of them are listed I doubt that's an exhaustive list -- after all, why not 63 then? There's no end to the number of ways of being wrong (or of views to attach to)!
I suppose that "right view" is defined more narrowly (4 noble truths, 3 characteristics, dispassion, etc.), and that attaching to or holding to views (doctrines) other than that and thus is 'wrong'.
Conversely though, there is "right seeing" or "seeing things as they are", which includes seeing their cause[s] and their cessation.
So a "view" is a diṭṭhi, defined here as follows:
diṭṭhi: view, speculative opinion, belief, credo, dogma, doctrine. Generally designates a wrong view. Sammādiṭṭhi is the first constituent of the ariya aṭṭh·aṅgika magga, and consists in considering the four ariya·saccas. When the prefix sammā· is absent, the word diṭṭhi generally designates a wrong view. The Buddha exhaustively expounds the 62 wrong views in the Brahmajāla Sutta. Diṭṭhis are one of the seven anusayas. See also sammādiṭṭhi.
In MN 72 for example you can see that the word diṭṭhi can be given all kinds of qualifiers:
Each of these ten convictions is the thicket of views, the desert of views, the trick of views, the evasiveness of views, the fetter of views.
Sassato loko’ti kho, vaccha, diṭṭhigatametaṃ diṭṭhigahanaṃ diṭṭhikantāro diṭṭhivisūkaṃ diṭṭhivipphanditaṃ diṭṭhisaṃyojanaṃ
The dictionary gives diṭṭhisaṃyojana as "the fetter of empty speculation", by the way.
After that sentence in MN 72 the Buddha says,
Seeing this drawback I avoid all these convictions.
Imaṃ kho ahaṃ, vaccha, ādīnavaṃ sampassamāno evaṃ imāni sabbaso diṭṭhigatāni anupagato”ti.
But does Master Gotama have any convictions at all?
“Atthi pana bhoto gotamassa kiñci diṭṭhigatan”ti?
The Realized One has done away with convictions.
Diṭṭhigatanti kho, vaccha, apanītametaṃ tathāgatassa.
I wanted to know what diṭṭhigata (used there) means exactly. Because the dictionary defines it as ...
a (false) view, a theory.
a belief; wrong view.
... but I found it odd, it didn't make sense to me, that Vacchagotta would ask the Buddha, "what wrong views do you hold?" -- so I figured that diṭṭhigata would mean something slightly different than explicitly or literally "wrong".
As Andrei commented,
Well, ditthi means view and gata means something like "settled in", so why wouldn't ditthigata mean a position or conviction?
I think that "settled in" is so -- see also for example gata used in Tathagata (usually translated as "gone" or "gone to") ... or for example sugata, and gata generally.
So, I guess, maybe diṭṭhigata means something like, "gone to a view", or "dwelling in a view" ... or "holding a view" (which is the subject of the question in the OP), perhaps conversely "being held by a view" (if you use non-anatta terminology), perhaps "stuck on a view", perhaps a "stuck view", maybe "an abiding view" or "a view of abiding", or something like that.
There's a whole sutta actually, itivuttaka 49 is titled the Diṭṭhigatasutta. That title is translated in English as "Held by Views". Read the whole sutta, it's not long:
This was said by the Lord…
“Bhikkhus, held by two kinds of views, some devas and
human beings hold back and some overreach; only those with vision see.
“And how, bhikkhus, do some hold back? Devas and humans enjoy being, delight in being, are satisfied with being. When Dhamma is taught to them for the cessation of being, their minds do not enter into it or acquire confidence in it or settle upon it or become resolved upon it. Thus, bhikkhus, do some hold back.
“How, bhikkhus, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same being and they rejoice in (the idea of) non-being, asserting: ‘In as much as this self, good sirs, when the body perishes at death, is annihilated and destroyed and does not exist after death—this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is reality!’ Thus, bhikkhus, do some overreach.
“How, bhikkhus, do those with vision see? Herein a bhikkhu sees what has come to be as having come to be. Having seen it thus, he practises the course for turning away, for dispassion, for the cessation of what has come to be. Thus, bhikkhus, do those with vision see.”
Having seen what has come to be
As having come to be,
Passing beyond what has come to be,
They are released in accordance with truth
By exhausting the craving for being.
When a bhikkhu has fully understood
That which has come to be as such,
Free from craving to be this or that,
By the extinction of what has come to be
He comes no more to renewal of being.
This too is the meaning of what was said by the Lord, so I heard.
I note five things from this sutta:
The first two groups of devas and human beings are maybe (in my vernacular) "fooling around with" views ... i.e. they're "rejoicing" or "delighting" in views.
Perhaps that's analogous to what people do with sensuality -- i.e. they attach to it.
So maybe that is literally what's meant by "holding" a view -- i.e. people hold a view in the same way that people attach to sense-objects.
I like (or have attached to) this metaphor (quoting from What is attachment as per Buddhism?):
To distinguish craving from clinging, Buddhaghosa uses the following metaphor:
"Craving is the aspiring to an object that one has not yet reached, like a thief's stretching out his hand in the dark; clinging is the grasping of an object that one has reached, like the thief's grasping his objective.... [T]hey are the roots of the suffering due to seeking and guarding."
In this sutta, the views which they hold are views of something being still or static:
- In the first case, it's a view of "being" -- as if "being" were something constant, or eternal, or even non-empty in the Mahayana sense.
- In the second case, it's a view of annihilation-after-death.
What you're supposed to do instead ...
How, bhikkhus, do those with vision see?
Kathañca, bhikkhave, cakkhumanto passanti? -- (the dictionary says that passati is the same as one of the meanings of dassati)
... is to see the coming-to-be and the cessation.
And that (i.e. seeing coming-to-be and cessation) is the same as what the Buddha says in MN 72, immediately after he denies having Diṭṭhigata:
Seeing this drawback I avoid all these convictions.”
“But does Master Gotama have any convictions at all?”
“Atthi pana bhoto gotamassa kiñci diṭṭhigatan”ti?
“The Realized One has done away with convictions.
“Diṭṭhigatanti kho, vaccha, apanītametaṃ tathāgatassa.
For the Realized One has seen:
Diṭṭhañhetaṃ, vaccha, tathāgatena: (note the use of Diṭṭhi again but here not implying wrong -- nor stuck/held/fixed)
‘Such is form, such is the origin of form, such is the ending of form.
Such is feeling, such is the origin of feeling, such is the ending of feeling.
Such is perception, such is the origin of perception, such is the ending of perception.
Such are choices, such is the origin of choices, such is the ending of choices.
Such is consciousness, such is the origin of consciousness, such is the ending of consciousness.’
That’s why the Realized One is freed with the ending, fading away, cessation, giving up, and letting go of all conceivings, all worries, and all ego, possessiveness, or underlying tendency to conceit, I say.”
“But Master Gotama, when a mendicant’s mind is freed like this, where are they reborn?”
“‘They’re reborn’ doesn’t apply, Vaccha.”
“Well then, are they not reborn?”
“‘They’re not reborn’ doesn’t apply, Vaccha.”
If you're worried about diṭṭhi being used to refer to both right views and wrong views, I think in summary the Buddha isn't stuck on any particular fixed view, but instead rightly-sees the arising, being, and ceasing of all the aggregates.
And, it's for the same kinds of purpose in MN 72 as in Iti 49: i.e. for turning away, dispassion, cessation.
There's another sutta (I forget which one) which says that something "in the stream" will reach the ocean (a metaphor for nibbana), unless it sinks or gets stuck on something along the way. Maybe that (being stuck) is another sense of "held", and why the Buddha warns against it -- i.e. given that he wants to teach "only suffering and cessation", speculative views and conceits and so on are an obstacle to cessation.
When the sutta said "delight in being" (bhavaratā bhavasammuditā) I took that as a reference to self-view (e.g. "I am"), but also as a reference to attaching to things, after not (truly) seeing the three characteristics (and so e.g. "this thing is not impermanent, this thing is desirable, and this thing is mine").
I think that "self-view" isn't the only 'wrong' view -- i.e. seeing the three characteristics of "things" is also 'right' (see also a a separate answer about 'emptiness', and AN 10.3 below).
I looked for other places where Diṭṭhigata is used.
Another place the word Diṭṭhigata is used in the last verse of Snp 4.8 which I think says that wanting to win arguments is a vain conceit.
That's inline with other suttas which say that conceit is a cause of arguments.
On the subject of "conceit" and "views" I recommend the answers to How are 'conceit' and 'identity-view' not the same? for example:
A view is taking something to be true, whereas conceit falls in the category of a simple experience, which one may or may not hold to be valid. It is similar with greed; one may want something without believing it proper to want, and one may likewise feel conceit ("I am better", etc.) without actually believing in a self.
I assume that's similar to an addiction or an ex-addiction; e.g. the thought might occur and reoccur, to a former addict, "I want X (where 'X' is e.g. alcohol or whatever the object of addiction/attachment is)", and you then have to decide "No, that's a bad idea! I really don't want that." I guess conceit or egoism might be an addictive pleasure, or something, that people have to wean themselves from over time.
SN 41.3 is, again, speculative views about the afterlife. Ditto AN 10.3. A lot of the "held views" seem to be on that kind of topic.
Maybe debating such views was a custom then, e.g. among a "holy men" i.e. the wanderers or seekers in that society.
AN 10.3 also defines right view, as "what's created is impermanent, what's impermanent is dukkha, what's dukkha is when seen with right wisdom not mine, not me, and not myself".
That's a bit unusual in that, as I said earlier, instead of mentioning the three characteristics explicitly as it does in AN 10.3, other suttas tend to contrast Diṭṭhigata with seeing the creation (cause), being, and cessation of the five aggregates.
AN 7.54 also uses diṭṭhigata (translated here as "misconception"), to describe the various famously "undeclared points" or "unanswered questions" (e.g. "does a Tathagata exist after death?" etc.).
It also says that, it is due to Diṭṭhinirodhā (i.e. due to the "cessation of views") that "an educated noble disciple has no doubts" -- where "doubts" (vicikicchā) is one of the canonical fetters (see also e.g. the second half of this answer).
AN 7.54 appears to be the only sutta to mention Diṭṭhinirodhā, FYI -- and that's in the context of things that are avyākata ("not designated" -- if you want to research further you might want to check the usage of avyākata and of its antonym, byākata).
Given that the definition at the top of this answer says that diṭṭhi is one of the seven types of anusaya, you might also want to read this answer which helps to define anusaya.
You may or may not also find this helpful: Buddhaghosa on seeing things as they are (2)
One thing it says is ...
Having a diṭṭhi is not the problem, being diṭṭhigata is.
... and then goes on to talk about seeing things as they are, yathābhūtadassana.
It ends with what I think of as a pun on the word "conclusion" (i.e. two separate meanings of "conclusion"):
- One meaning of "conclusion" is "a theory", for example, "I made these observations and 'concluded' that such-and-such a generalisation is true".
- Another meaning of "conclusion" is "cessation", "ending".
I think, I suppose, that in the suttas the Buddha is trying to point towards the latter (cessation), and not the former (sustaining generalisations, holding views, conceited arguments, etc.).