According to Wikipedia, “Extant vinaya texts include those of the Theravada (the only one in Pali), the Kāśyapīya, the Mahāsāṃghika, the Mahīśāsaka, the Dharmaguptaka, the Sarvāstivāda and the Mūlasarvāstivāda.” Does anyone know which of these Vinayas has the least number of rules?
According to Peter Harvey (Introduction to Buddhism, p. 290), the Theravadin Vinaya has 227 rules for male monastics, the Mula-Sarvastivadin has 258, and the Dharmaguptaka has 250, making the Theravadin the one with the least number of rules.
The Wikipedia article on Vinaya substantially agrees with this, but has 253 for the Mulasarvastivadin Vinaya. However, the Wikipedia articles for Mahasamghika and Sthavira (and elsewhere) also state that the Mahasamghika Vinaya has the least number of rules, citing Andrew Skilton, A Concise History of Buddhism, stating that the Mahasamghika Vinaya has 67 rules in the śaikṣa-dharma section, compared to 75 for the Theravadin (apparently referring to the 75 sekhiyavatta), which appears to contradict Harvey’s statement that the Theravadin Vinaya has the least number of rules.
Does anyone (1) have any insights concerning the relative number of rules in the Vinayas that can reconcile this apparent contradiction or (2) know where English translations of the non-Theravadin Vinayas may be found? I am still researching this question online so may end up answering my own question, but would like to hear any relevant information from others.