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Buddhism, Occultism, and Mysticism

|There arose a question recently asking if Buddhism forbade the occult, to 
|which the overwhelming response was yes.

Ah yes, but never did these people tell us what 'the occult' meant to them.
Therefore the responses were mostly meaningless.  By far the responses that
indicated 'yes' merely affirmed their desire that the subjects not be
conflated within the forum in question.

|Why do many Buddhists restrict their diet (i.e. from meat)?

Most religious follow orthodox praxis as a function of conformism.  
That is, they do it because they are told it is the best way to live.
Some may do it because of philosophical or ethical reasons (cf. 'ahimsa',
for example).  Some do it because it leads to particular states of
consciousness which they desire.

|Of those who meditate or attempt to meditate, you know there are certain 
|	things which are harmful to your practice (i.e. music, strong odors, 
|	food, exceptional noise).  

Actually what you are here characterizing as 'harmful' is only a pointer
toward what makes practice *difficult*.  It does not actually harm the
practice per se, though it may pose an obstacle to the undedicated or
impatient.  Advanced practice actually intentionally includes such things.

|Why do you refrain from such distractions before and during meditation?

The best reason of which I am aware is that if we attempt advanced
practice before we have mastered beginning practice then we may not
derive benefit from it.  Distractions are usually obstacles to the
beginner.  To the adept, they are challenges to be overcome.

|Why do we attempt to be in certain places at certain times of the year?

I'm really not sure what you are asking or how this applies to your
rhetorical questions (beauties) asked above, though I'd love to hear
more as to why you ask this.

|most Buddhists are at least a little mystical.  

That is also my understanding, especially when one takes the definition
for 'mystical' which incorporates a more 'transpersonal' approach
(cf 'transpersonal psychology' in the West).

|While not occultists, one is only the extreme form of the other.  
|Different branches "revere" meditation and mysticism to certain extents.  
|At what point mysticism turns into occulism is unclear.

Precisely, and this is best seen by those who make a study of either or
both.  They are in many senses the same thing seen in different contexts
and by different people.  Usually when religious attempt to separate
themselves from either they have a very particular (and rather useless)
meaning which the author didn't really intend to convey.