At least a draft of this work is considered to have been completed by the time he was 75 years of age, but there is evidence that he kept revising it until he was about 85 years of age.
The Kyogyoshinsho is a major work that is divided into six chapters: Chapter on Teaching, Chapter on Practice, Chapter on Shinjin, Chapter on Attainment, Chapter on True Buddha Land and Chapter on Transformed Buddha Land. It is a very difficult work, written in kambun, the Japanese way of writing Chinese, but it describes the Jodo-Shinshu teaching very clearly. At the end of this work, the Venerable Master confesses his joy at being in the embrace of Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow:
What a joy to place my mind in the soil of the Buddha’s Universal Vow and let my thoughts flow into the sea of the “marvelously mysterious” dharma. I deeply acknowledge the Tathagata’s compassion and sincerely appreciate the Master’s (Hõnen’s) benevolence in instructing me. My feeling of indebtedness grows as my joy increases. I have therefore expressed the essentials of the True Teaching (Shinshu) by collecting important passages on the Pure Land. I can think only of the Buddha’s deep Benevolence, and care not the least about the abuses of others. May those who read this eventually attain the Serene Shinjin of the Vow-Power either by the cause of faithful obedience or by the condition of doubt and abuse, and realize Supreme Fruition in the Land of Serene Sustenance.
After expressing his joy at being embraced within the Primal Vow, the Venerable Master states that those with shinjin are, of course, included, but he hopes that the doubts of those without shinjin will become the condition for them to accept the Primal Vow. His greatest wish is for even one more person to become aware of the saving grace of the Primal Vow and attain true happiness.
The Shoshin-ge (Hymn of True Shinjin), that is chanted daily in Jodo-Shinshu households throughout Japan, is found at the end of the Chapter on Faith of the Kyogyoshinsho.
The Venerable Master returned to Kyoto from the Kanto area during 1232 AD (1st year of Joei), at about the age of 60.
In Kyoto, with its much greater resources of Buddhist materials, the Venerable Master completed work on his Kyogyoshinsho. He wrote many other works that are indispensable for a detailed understanding of the Jodo-Shinshu teaching. They include: Jodo Monrui Jusho (A Collection of Passages on the Pure Land), Gutoku-sho (Notes of an Ignorant Short-Haired One), Nyushitsu Nimon-ge (Hymns on Entering and Leaving the Twin Gates), Jodo Wasan(Japanese Poems on the Pure Land), Koso Wasan (Japanese Poems on the Eminent Monks), Shozomatsu Wasan (Japanese Poems on the Three Periods (of the True, Semblance and Decay of the Dharma)), Kotaishi Shotoku Hosan(In Praise of Prince Shotoku), Dainippon Kokuzoku Sano Shotoku Taishi Hosan(In Praise of Shotoku Taishi, the Kokuzoku Sano of the Great Country of Japan), Yuishinsho Mon’i (Essence of “Faith Alone”), Ichinen Tanen Mon’i (Notes on the One Recitation and the Many Recitations), Songo Shinzo Meimon (Collection of Comments on the “Objects of Reverence”), Jodo Sangyo Ojo Monrui (Passages on Birth in the Pure Land Based on the Three Pure Land Sutras), Nyorai Nishu Eko-mon (The Two Types of Amida Buddha’s Merit Transferences), and Mida Nyorai Myogo Toku (The Virtue of Amida Buddha’s “Name”).
In addition to the above, the Venerable Master wrote many letters to his disciples and followers who remained in the Kanto area, further explaining the teaching of Jodo-Shinshu. These letters were later collected and published under titles such as Mattosho (Light for the Latter Ages) and Goshosoku-sho(Collection of Honorable Letters).
With all his literary activities, the Venerable Master must have been very busy in Kyoto.
The one great disappointment of the Venerable Master’s later years must have been having to disown his son, Zenran. This came about because misunderstandings of his teaching began to grow among the people who remained in the Kanto area.
One of the misunderstandings was that since Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow states that everyone (except those who commit the Five Perversities) who recites the Nembutsu will be born in the Pure Land, i.e., that as long as you recite the Nembutsu, it is all right to even commit wrong deeds. The technical term for this wrong attitude is zoaku muge.