Mazu Daoyi (709–788) was an influential abbot of Chan Buddhism during the Tang dynasty. The earliest recorded use of the term "Chan school" is from his Extensive Records. Master Ma's teaching style of "strange words and extraordinary actions" became paradigmatic Zen lore.
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 .
Bodhidharma was a semi-legendary Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch.
According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu.
The Chan (Zen in Japanese) school of Chinese Buddhism began when, in the 7th century, a small religious community gathered .