That’s just the reasoning Hillside gives, that as long as someone doesn’t have right view then whatever they do isn’t for uprooting the defilements but for managing dukkha, so the dhamma is misused. This is also found in the suttas, there’s a sutta that says when a fool wields the dhamma improperly they hurt themselves.
Indeed, hence the virtue training and sense restraint comes before one can attain jhana, it’s a prerequisite.
I understand that you have your personal experience, but this is about what the suttas say, not what you perceive to work better or not.
In the suttas right view comes before right concentration, so the scope of this discussion was originally your interpretation of anapanasati, which you took to mean focusing on the physical sense of the breath, then the discussion shifted to enduring dukkha.
So I think the core question is how does one know if what they’re doing is merely “managing” dukkha or actually uprooting it.
My interpretation of the first noble truth is that it’s the symptom, and the second noble truth is the cause. So if you’re only dealing with the symptom, you’re only managing dukkha. If you’re dealing with the cause, you’re uprooting dukkha.
If your goal is to only get rid of dukkha temporarily, then any form of management can work: sensual desires, focusing on breath, yoga, massages, flowers, candle incense rituals, chants, affirmations, etc…
If your goal is to uproot dukkha and have a permanent reduction of dukkha, whether gradually or at once, then you must attack the cause, and that is craving.
Hence the fetter of rituals is destroyed when one has right view because anything that doesn’t deal with the true cause is a ritual aka “management”, it’s pleasant but not sufficient.
So the goal is to arrive at Right View, until then you’re considered ignorant and anything you do can end up harming yourself further, and others too if you teach them the wrong instruction. Trying to attain jhana before knowing and seeing the true cause, is at best a waste of time, at worst harmful and can lead to hallucinations, mental problems and other such issues.
The sutta MN2 says yoniso manasikara starves the unskillful and feeds the skillful. You can only get yoniso manasikara if you have an inkling of right view, which at minimum is the barebones understanding of idappaccayatā or the 3 characteristics. The root of the unskillful is the 3 poisons and the 5 hindrances need to be overcome to get at the 3 poisons, and in order to overcome the 5 hindrances one needs yoniso manasikara which requires hearing the true dhamma with yoniso manasikara.
“Endowed with (the) five (opposite) qualities when listening to the True Dhamma, one is capable of alighting on the orderliness, on the rightness of skillful qualities. Which five?
“One doesn’t hold the talk in contempt.
“One doesn’t hold the speaker in contempt.
“One doesn’t hold oneself in contempt.
“One listens to the Dhamma with an unscattered mind, a mind gathered into one [ek’agga-citto].1
“One attends appropriately.” (yoniso manasikara)
“Endowed with these five qualities when listening to the True Dhamma, one is capable of alighting on the orderliness, on the rightness of skillful qualities.”
So again, the issue is not what comes after Right View, it’s getting to Right View in the first place.
Your earlier sutta reference MN 14 about using jhana to not return to sensuality comes later, way later.