I believe this apparent problem is quite explained inside MN 117.
First, it is clear the Right View is the forerunner:
"The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions.
“Of those, right view is the forerunner.”
Second, there are two sorts of Right View:
"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts:
(1) There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions [of becoming];
(2) there is right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
The “right view with effluents” include what typically we call “effort” in the Path. Are those movements of the will feeding the attachment to -self to develop the Path. From here there is the arising of merits for the world and also oneself. In example, to cultivate generosity, to practice meditation, and so on. “I should do this instead that”: this type of effort is related to get what is profitable for the -self to feed the Dhamma Path. This will impact in the progress, although in an indirect way.
The “right view without effluents” is not an effort feeding the attachment to -self but this is simply the discernment. Discernment, by its own nature, always implies detachment from the -self. Because we say there is “discernment” precisely when the delusive nature of Reality was surpassed. This type of movements of the will are feeding knowledge and discernment instead the -self to do this or that.
These characteristics appears clearly inside the Sutta:
(1) And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions…
(2) And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening…"
I believe there is no contradiction because both ways are implicit mechanics in the progress. Just it happens that somebody can become aware of such distinction and he could fuel a transcendental way to favor discernment, even to avoid being engaged in the cultivation of a right view with effluents feeding the -self attachment. That is, that person could avoid what typically we name “effort” as an indirect mechanics of progress associated with -self attachment and mostly built with merits.
However, while there is attachment to -self both characteristics are unavoidable despite the energy one can put in one or another. A person engaged in “practical efforts” could not avoid the necessity of discernment if he pretends a real progress. And a person engaged only in discernment he could not avoid the efforts of Right View feeding the -self while discernment still is not enough.
This is quite unavoidable while there is attachment to -self.
IMHO I believe this is just a confusion because they are not talking on different things. B.Bodhi is pointing to that Right View aspect while those bhikkhus talking on a “primordial citta” and similar things just they are talking following the second aspect, and therefore in positive terms.
It doesn’t mean a “true self”. Mostly, today this seems to be an invention of the modern Western Buddhism historically polluted by materialism and extreme rationalism.
Just keep in mind Nibbana is not about if there some thing or no thing. Nibbana is about freedom of grasping and attachment. There is no essentialist difference between Nibbana and Parinibbana, that’s just delusion about life and death.
If one day we are walking and we see a dog, at that moment we could say this is a “self-dog”. However, if at that very moment would arise nibbana, logically the dog would be not annihilated or destroyed. Just we could say it was a “no-self-dog”.
In a similar way, somebody deepening in jhana states he could realize a no-self-consciousness, and it wouldn’t mean the annihilation of consciousness.
We cannot say is a dog neither there is not a dog. Neither we cannot say there is consciousness neither there is no consciousness.
When those bhikkhus talks about a “primordial” thing this is just an skillful word to point to that ambit. Also we could say in nibbana there is a “primordial dog” which will become “a dog” after leaving nibbana.
Materialists are wrong.when they are naming “no-self” to a nothingness. This is just annihilation, a wrong view. And also this is a complete absurdity. How nibbana could be possible in an annihilation ambit?.
Just one can note the absurdity in the building of the premise itself: “ambit of annihilation”. If there is annihilation logically there is no possibility to conceive any ambit. However, we know the Buddha clearly taught there is that ambit, the ambit of nibbana:
“There is that ambit, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither ambit of the infinitude of space, nor ambit of the infinitude of consciousness, nor ambit of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished, unevolving, without support. This, just this, is the end of stress.”
- Ud 8.1
This ambit is characterized by freedom of grasping and attachment. This is not annihilation. No difference in grasping the dog, the tree or the consciousness. Same issue.
About that ambit, some people could talk about “a primordial dog” or “a primordial citta”. At least I understand this is fully ok while the point of pure freedom of grasping can be catched by the audience. Here the only problem is to know if the audience is aligned with that teaching style, in order to catch that point of freedom. Probably, the disciples of those bhikkhus teachings catched the point while many outsiders to their particular style, they cannot.