A lineage in Buddhism is a line of transmission of the Buddhist teaching that is "theoretically traced back to the Buddha himself."
The acknowledgement of the transmission can be oral, or certified in documents.
Several branches of Buddhism, including Chan (including Zen and Seon) and Tibetan Buddhism maintain records of their historical teachers.
These records serve as a validation for the living exponents of the tradition.
In Chan and Zen Buddhism, dharma transmission is a custom .